Reading level: Young Adult
Genre: General Fiction
Size: 372 pages
Publisher: Dutton Juvenile
Release Date: December 2, 2010
Stand Alone or Series: Stand Alone
Source: Borrowed from Library
Rating: 5/5 stars
I have been hearing how awesome this book is forever and finally got it from my library to read. I read nearly the whole thing straight through in one night. It was really good. It was funny, sweet, and just touches on so many things about growing up and being away from home.
Anna is sent to an American school in Paris by her father. She doesn’t want to be there, but she tries to make the best of it. Right off the bat she meets a great group of students and then there is St. Clair. St. Clair is everything she has ever wanted in a boyfriend; beautiful, funny, and just all around wonderful to hang out with. Only problem is he has a girlfriend…oh and Anna has an almost boyfriend back in Atlanta, Georgia. So Anna is not only trying to learn how to navigate a foreign country but she is also navigating a difficult balance between herself and St. Clair.
This is seriously one of the most readable books I have read all year. By that I mean the language is so natural, the characters so real and interesting. I seriously sat down and started to read and suddenly realized I had been reading for quite a while and was 100 pages into the book. The story just flows off the pages. It is one of those stories that will have you giggling at points and will have you almost in tears at others.
Anna, St. Claire, and their friends are some of the most real, yet admirable, characters I have read about in a while. They make mistakes but are all trying to be decent people. They are all kind of quirky and have things they are really passionate about; instead of trying to hide their passions they embrace them as being part of who they are.
I really enjoyed watching Anna learn to navigate Paris. Perkins is just spot on with some of the things she has Anna go through and with some of the things Anna thinks. I remember being in Paris last year and I was self conscious; I did constantly wonder “Do I look too American?”. The accuracy of these experiences and how well I related to Anna had me laughing out loud a number of times.
Watching Anna and her friends deal with their family issues was insightful, heartbreaking, and engaging. I guess in a way you could say this book is about navigation. How to navigate a new country, how to navigate through family issues, and how to navigate through love.
I was a bit leery about reading this book because it just sounded a bit too “high school” for me; I ended up picking it up because of how good I heard it was and I wanted to read a book set in Paris. I am glad I picked it up. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would actually reread it a few times if I had more time.
Overall I loved this book. If you like travel and you like reading coming of age type stories give it a read. In fact I think everyone should give it a read. Sure most of it is from Anna’s perspective, but it wasn’t too girly or too full of teenage angst, and it definitely wasn’t shallow. It covered a lot of serious issues and was entertaining, funny, and completely engrossing…so, just read it already! I look forward to reading Perkins next book, Lola and the Boy Next Door, when it comes out in September.
This book goes towards the following reading challenges:
– 100+ Reading Challenge